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National Strategy

Developed jointly by FEMA, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Red Cross, the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education: Empowering, Educating and Building Resilience (National Strategy) envisions a nation in which youth are empowered to prepare for and respond to disasters.

Partners at the local, state, and national levels work together to elevate the importance of youth preparedness, educating youth on the specific actions to take during and in the aftermath of a disaster, and encouraging youth to spread the message of preparedness to their communities. Together we can create more resilient communities today and more prepared adults of the future.

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Why Focus on Youth?

Children make up about 25 percent of the population of the United States and are the future of our communities. While they face unique vulnerabilities, they can also play an important role during emergencies. However, many programs do not consider children in their planning. It is important that children know what to do in an emergency and that all disaster planning, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts include children’s unique needs and assets. 

National Strategy Vision, Purpose and Goals, and Priorities

The National Strategy includes nine priority steps that are critical to fulfilling the purpose of creating a prepared youth community. Each step is associated with one or more short- and long-term activities that define how the priority step will move forward. The success of the National Strategy will require ongoing input from stakeholders and a commitment to making youth preparedness education a part of every child’s life.


The vision of the National Strategy is to create a nation of prepared youth. Youth will be empowered to prepare for and respond to disasters, educated as to specific actions they can take before and after a disaster occurs, and prepared with knowledge and skills that will make them more resilient when faced with disasters. Instilling preparedness knowledge and skills in youth also will help develop a future population of prepared adults.


The purpose of the National Strategy is straightforward: to couple national attention on emergency and disaster preparedness with community action that focuses specifically on youth readiness for disasters and related events. The National Preparedness Goal identifies preparedness as including “five mission areas: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.” The National Strategy’s envisioned alignment of attention to and action on youth preparedness can be realized with the support of organizations at the national, state and local levels that commit to engaging, empowering and building resilience in youth through preparedness education.


In support of the National Strategy vision and purpose, there are three goals for the National Strategy: 

  • Catalyzing efforts aimed at educating the youth of this nation about preparing for and responding to future disasters
  • Establishing partnerships with stakeholders that place a high priority on youth preparedness
  • Encouraging collaboration among groups at the federal, state and local levels, as well as national and local non-governmental organizations and private sector leaders, to implement and endorse this effort

Priority Steps

  1. Elevate the importance of youth preparedness learning programs at the national, state and local levels
  2. Evaluate the quality and effectiveness of existing and new youth preparedness programs
  3. Support the implementation of youth preparedness learning programs
  4. Create positive relationships between youth and the first responder community
  5. Link youth preparedness to family and community participation, especially in communities where English may not be the first language spoken (or understood) among adults, in other underrepresented communities, and inclusive of individuals with access and functional needs
  6. Make school preparedness a key component of youth preparedness
  7. Build and strengthen productive partnerships among stakeholder agencies and organizations
  8. Identify opportunities to embed youth preparedness in youth culture
  9. Design a sustaining, locally driven model for developing, designing and delivering programming

Become a National Strategy Affirmer

Help us propel the youth preparedness movement! By aligning your organization’s activities with one or more of the National Strategy’s nine priority steps, you are joining a network of the nation’s most prominent public- and private-sector organizations that are dedicated to promoting youth preparedness and building a more resilient nation. Fill out the worksheet below and send it to FEMA-youth-preparedness@fema.dhs.gov to start the process and become a National Strategy Affirmer.

Downloadable Resources

National Strategy Overview

FEMA ICPD National Strategy

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Affirming Your Organization

National Strategy Affirmer List

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National Strategy Affirmation Worksheet

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National Strategy Supplemental Affirmation Worksheet

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Communication Plan Cards

Family Emergency Communication Plan Fillable Cards

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Last Updated: 03/07/2023

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